Writing in Sunday’s New York Times, Peter Baker reports on the fallout among American liberals after the news broke last week about the Obama administration’s secret memo justifying the use of drones to kill American citizens. Baker writes:
Conservatives complained that if Mr. Bush had done what Mr. Obama has done, he would have been eviscerated by liberals and the news media. But perhaps more than ever before in Mr. Obama’s tenure, liberals voiced sustained grievance over the president’s choices.
“That memo coming out, I think, was a wake-up call,” said Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union. “These last few days, it was like being back in the Bush days.”
“It’s causing a lot of cognitive dissonance for a lot of people,” he added. “It’s not the President Obama they thought they knew.”
Isn't it a little late for a wake-up call? Obama has already waged a war in Libya without congressional approval, which is a pretty good signal that he takes an expansive view of executive power. And then there's the fact that Obama rammed several very high-profile government appointments past the U.S. Senate by invoking his recess appointment power when the Senate was not actually in recess—an executive power play that Bush never attempted. But I suppose it's better late than never when it comes to criticizing presidential overreach.
Unfortunately, as Baker also notes, some of the president's supporters remain immune to the cognitive dissonance even now, as evidenced by this extraordinary statement from former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who has been rumored to be on Obama's list of possible Supreme Court nominees:
For four years, Mr. Obama has benefited at least in part from the reluctance of Mr. Bush’s most virulent critics to criticize a Democratic president. Some liberals acknowledged in recent days that they were willing to accept policies they once would have deplored as long as they were in Mr. Obama’s hands, not Mr. Bush’s.
“We trust the president,” former Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan said on Current TV. “And if this was Bush, I think that we would all be more up in arms because we wouldn’t trust that he would strike in a very targeted way and try to minimize damage rather than contain collateral damage.”